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One way to fix an overheating graphics chip in an iMac
Authored by: aalegado on Jan 20, '10 03:26:42PM

I would definitely exhaust (no pun intended) all cleaning options to return air-flow to stock condition before resorting to opening up new ventilation holes. This would involve more than just cleaning the fans and the various shaped-bits that route air—some attention would have to be paid to dirt/dust build-up on all the components in the path of the air flow. Even a small, barely visible build-up of dust on a component can drastically affect air-speed around that component. Multiply that by several components on the Mobo and you get a congested but apparently obstruction free computer. You can get away with dusty components on a computer with more free air space (the typical PC or even the inside of a MacPro) but with literally no free air space, an iMac's interior can become an aerodynamic obstacle course is short order.

After a good internal cleaning there are some other options to consider that do not require permanent modification of the iMac:

1. Put a small, low-speed fan behind the iMac to blow air onto the back of the case. If you can point the fan so it blows air "up" this will be more effective than if the fan is level with the iMac and just blowing onto its back. This additional air-flow will "wick" heat off of the back of the Mac faster than still air is capable of doing. Also, the air-flow past the iMac's ventilation slot will help to pull air through the slot.

2. Come up with a forced-air solution:This would take some fab skills but if you could fit a plenum on the outside of the iMac that covers the air intake holes and connect that plenum to a 8" PC fan you would effectively increase the airflow through the iMac in excess of what the built-in fans will be capable of. This also forces more dirt/dust into the iMac but if you can fab a plenum you can figure out how to stretch cheese-cloth or some fabric over it to filter the incoming air.

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